- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Faff (Heard on "Top Gear")
I took a break from my usual BBC show watching and decided I would tune in to "Top Gear" again. I had seen it years ago when Roger Daltrey was a guest on it...and watched it on and off ever since.
The show, if you've never seen it...isn't what you'd expect. It's not all just "Consumer Reports: Car Reviews" only geared for people with lots and lots of money.
Granted, they do get to drive around in some cars which most viewers could only dream about and salivate over, as if they were some "Page Three Girl". But, that's pretty much where the similarity ends.
I don't know exactly how to explain it, as they have done countless silly things in their day. For example, they all (all three of them...not an allusion to the "Page Three Girls" from above) got into their each junky-ish car and trekked across the Southern states in order to resell them again in Louisiana. Naturally, as luck would have it, they had to traverse Alabama. I live in Alabama...and sorry, Alabama, you are...well, Alabama.
Then to make the drive even more exciting and unknowingly death-defying, they each got to paint words on each others' cars...to elicit a rise out of the fine upstanding denizens of Alabama...or sadly, in this case, the dregs of Alabama. Apparently the silly Brit guys got more than they bargained for...and were run out of town...or in this case, the state...on a rail (complete with shotguns and pick-ups).
A recent-ish episode I saw had them all given X amount of cash and pretend to be dim-witted 17-year-old testosterone-driven males again...and with it, all the trappings that come from post-pubescent adolescence. Think of it as Monty Python's "Twit Contest" meets...three random guys who have a car show in Britain.
Then they typically have a celebrity on...and hand the keys to a car over to him and they, in turn, get to pretend they are Mario Andretti or (for you Alabama readers...Dale Earnhardt) for a bit...only miked during and made fun of after the timed-lap round.
Anyway, the show is quite "brill" in its on right...and it's worth a look if you never have.
The guys behind the wheel, so to speak, in this show are Jeremy Clarkson, James May (who bears, at least to me, an uncanny remote resemblance to Stephen Fry), and the adorable Richard Hammond (whom I would seriously consider having sex with if 1) he was desperate enough; and 2) if I ever wanted to have sex again)...but I'm getting off track here and that's never something you want to do on a "car/racing-based" show.
The word I'm doing up today is "faff". Now, I have to be absolutely honest and admit I have never heard the word "faff" before. I queried a few American friends, and they, too, were "faff-virgins".
I've done a bit of research and many times it is used as "faff about" which, to most people would conjure up another four-letter "F" word...but according to World Wide Words, it doesn't stem from that.
It has, however, been around in its present usage since the late 1800s...and has come to mean "wasting your time doing unnecessary things". In this specific case, popping the roof on a Porsche Boxster Spyder (see timestamp 2:50 onward) to thwart off the mechanical rain...which, when that task was finally completed, "coincidentally" ended. A bit of poetic license perhaps...but the point was clearly made.
And speaking of "poetic license", I'd still bet my bottom dollar this word routinely gets used as a synonym for "mucking about"...which, sounds very similar to a word which Doctor Seuss was probably oft-times tempted to use when he was at the end of his "can not cope" rope. So, next time here on "Brit Word of the Day", we'll introduce "rhyming slang" aka "How the bloody hell did this boffo pseudo-language ever catch on"??
Until then...I'll be swilling Effen vodka and faffing about. ;)